A Fairy Tale Come to Life
Castles reign in Prague. So many exist in this city, it actually holds the world record as the city with the most castles. The most important of these numerous castles and palaces, Prague Castle, is in Hradcany Quarter. If you have time to tour just one castle, visit this one.
Mala Strana Quarter, or Lesser Town, also contains a large concentration of castles and palaces such as Liechtenstein Palace. Built to rival Prague Castle, this palace hugs the fringes of the north side of Kampa Park.
As Prague built up, squares emerged forming merchant centers surrounding the castles. Filled with stunning architecture, shops and bakeries, the many squares of Prague scattered around the city make great stops to explore, photograph and shop for souvenirs.
Prague’s number one attraction looms over the city much like a city within. Plan at least one entire day to tour the area, its many churches, squares and gardens. Many believe Prague Castle was built in 880 by Prince Borivoj. The largest castle in the world has held and continues to hold many different roles. From containing the first convent in Bohemia to being the seat of the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, the castle has undergone many alterations and additions. Encompassing nearly every architectural style still surviving today, from Gothic to Renaissance, a tour of the castle quickly becomes a tour through the history of architectural art.
While at the castle, visit:
St. Vitus Cathedral
Construction began in A.D. 926 on the dominant cathedral in the castle. Pope John Paul II visited this cathedral on several occasions.
The Prague Castle Picture Gallery
This gallery celebrates works that survived even the Thirty Year’s War, including the most famous piece, Hans von Aachen’s Portrait of a Girl (1605-10).
This castle contains many of the statues taken from the Charles Bridge in Lesser Town.
Squares Old Town Square
Prague’s most famous baroque square has seen its share of traffic: it began as a major central European merchant route. A large memorial dedicated to Jan Hus, a 15th century religious martyr executed on the site, stands in the square’s center.
This famous square, the heart and soul of Nove Mesto, thrives as the city’s commercial district.
Jan Palach Square
This square was renamed in 1990, in honor of the 21-year-old philosophy student who protested against the 1968 communist invasion of the city by setting himself on fire. It is an ideal riverside setting to spend a quiet afternoon sipping coffee and people watching.